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      Emerging Technologies of Flexible Pressure Sensors: Materials, Modeling, Devices, and Manufacturing

      1 , 2 , 2 , 1

      Advanced Functional Materials

      Wiley

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          Most cited references 228

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          Highly sensitive flexible pressure sensors with microstructured rubber dielectric layers.

          The development of an electronic skin is critical to the realization of artificial intelligence that comes into direct contact with humans, and to biomedical applications such as prosthetic skin. To mimic the tactile sensing properties of natural skin, large arrays of pixel pressure sensors on a flexible and stretchable substrate are required. We demonstrate flexible, capacitive pressure sensors with unprecedented sensitivity and very short response times that can be inexpensively fabricated over large areas by microstructuring of thin films of the biocompatible elastomer polydimethylsiloxane. The pressure sensitivity of the microstructured films far surpassed that exhibited by unstructured elastomeric films of similar thickness, and is tunable by using different microstructures. The microstructured films were integrated into organic field-effect transistors as the dielectric layer, forming a new type of active sensor device with similarly excellent sensitivity and response times.
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            An ultra-lightweight design for imperceptible plastic electronics.

            Electronic devices have advanced from their heavy, bulky origins to become smart, mobile appliances. Nevertheless, they remain rigid, which precludes their intimate integration into everyday life. Flexible, textile and stretchable electronics are emerging research areas and may yield mainstream technologies. Rollable and unbreakable backplanes with amorphous silicon field-effect transistors on steel substrates only 3 μm thick have been demonstrated. On polymer substrates, bending radii of 0.1 mm have been achieved in flexible electronic devices. Concurrently, the need for compliant electronics that can not only be flexed but also conform to three-dimensional shapes has emerged. Approaches include the transfer of ultrathin polyimide layers encapsulating silicon CMOS circuits onto pre-stretched elastomers, the use of conductive elastomers integrated with organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) on polyimide islands, and fabrication of OFETs and gold interconnects on elastic substrates to realize pressure, temperature and optical sensors. Here we present a platform that makes electronics both virtually unbreakable and imperceptible. Fabricated directly on ultrathin (1 μm) polymer foils, our electronic circuits are light (3 g m(-2)) and ultraflexible and conform to their ambient, dynamic environment. Organic transistors with an ultra-dense oxide gate dielectric a few nanometres thick formed at room temperature enable sophisticated large-area electronic foils with unprecedented mechanical and environmental stability: they withstand repeated bending to radii of 5 μm and less, can be crumpled like paper, accommodate stretching up to 230% on prestrained elastomers, and can be operated at high temperatures and in aqueous environments. Because manufacturing costs of organic electronics are potentially low, imperceptible electronic foils may be as common in the future as plastic wrap is today. Applications include matrix-addressed tactile sensor foils for health care and monitoring, thin-film heaters, temperature and infrared sensors, displays, and organic solar cells.
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              User-interactive electronic skin for instantaneous pressure visualization.

              Electronic skin (e-skin) presents a network of mechanically flexible sensors that can conformally wrap irregular surfaces and spatially map and quantify various stimuli. Previous works on e-skin have focused on the optimization of pressure sensors interfaced with an electronic readout, whereas user interfaces based on a human-readable output were not explored. Here, we report the first user-interactive e-skin that not only spatially maps the applied pressure but also provides an instantaneous visual response through a built-in active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display with red, green and blue pixels. In this system, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are turned on locally where the surface is touched, and the intensity of the emitted light quantifies the magnitude of the applied pressure. This work represents a system-on-plastic demonstration where three distinct electronic components--thin-film transistor, pressure sensor and OLED arrays--are monolithically integrated over large areas on a single plastic substrate. The reported e-skin may find a wide range of applications in interactive input/control devices, smart wallpapers, robotics and medical/health monitoring devices.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Advanced Functional Materials
                Adv. Funct. Mater.
                Wiley
                1616-301X
                1616-3028
                March 2019
                January 30 2019
                March 2019
                : 29
                : 12
                : 1808509
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Electronic EngineeringThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
                [2 ]Department of Mechanical and Automation EngineeringThe Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
                Article
                10.1002/adfm.201808509
                © 2019

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